A Quick History of Death Row Executions in Texas

Since 1819, the State of Texas has executed 1,334 people. According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the most recent execution was Feb. 9, 2023.

Hanging was used as a means of execution from 1819 to 1923, until the use of the electric chair was authorized in the state, according to the TDCJ. Between 1819 and 1923, 390 people were executed by hanging.

Starting in 1923, all executions were ordered to be carried out in Huntsville, Texas. Prior to the order, Texas counties were responsible for their own executions, according to TDCJ.

Photo by Enrico Hu00e4nel on Pexels.com

The electric chair remained the main execution method until 1964.

“A total of 361 inmates were electrocuted in the State of Texas,” the TDCJ said.

In June 1972, capital punishment was declared “cruel and unusual punishment” by the U.S. Supreme Court. According to the TDCJ, in 1973, a revision to the Texas Penal Code allowed for executions to resume starting Jan. 1, 1974.

On Jan. 12, 1996, the state started allowing close relatives and friends of the deceased victim to witness executions.

The TDCJ said Texas leads the nation in the number of executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Texas also ranks third in having one of the largest death row populations. Other states included California, Florida and Alabama.

Data from the TDCJ showed executions in Texas peaked in 2000, when 40 people were executed.

According to the TDCJ, the average time on death row prior to execution is 11.22 years. The shortest time on death row in Texas was 252 days, and the longest was 11,575 days. In the state, the youngest person at the time of execution was 24 years old, while the oldest was 78 years old.


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  1. I was hitchhiking in Texas many years ago and this guy picked me up. We had a great talk. He told me that he was in prison in Texas for aggravated assault. He said that he was going to be in prison for a while. Then one day he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. Then everything became a whirlwind: all of a sudden, he was out of prison on parole.

    He said that there is no way he should be out of prison. It was the Hand of God that got him out of prison.

    Speaking of prisons. One time I was hitchhiking on I-40 in Oklahoma just outside El Reno. I think there are two prisons in the area. As I walked on down the interstate, I saw this sign that said “Do not pick up hitchhikers. They may be escaped convicts”. I said to myself, isn’t that great, now I will never get a ride.

    I walked about two miles from El Reno and guess who picked me up? A young lady and her six-month old baby. After I got in the pickup, she said, “I saw the sign back there about not picking up hitchhikers, but I saw your big backpack, so I knew that you weren’t an escaped convict.”

    She gave me a ride to Clinton, Oklahoma where I slept in a horse shed for the night.

    The next day I got a ride south to Cordell, Oklahoma. I got dropped off at this convenience store where I got something to eat.

    I was sitting down at this table and this man and his son walked in. They asked me if that was my backpack outside. I said, yes. We had a nice chat. He said that he could stay with he and his son that night.

    We were at his house, and he asked me where I was hitchhiking earlier that summer. I said I was in Montana; I hitchhiked through Absarokee, Montana quite a bit. He asked me if I knew Frank Jones (not his real name). I said, yeah, Frank picked me up hitchhiking and took me to Red Lodge and bought me some breakfast.

    Over the next few years, I worked for Frank a number of times. He said that he knew the guy who picked me up in Oklahoma.

    It’s a small world.

    Liked by 3 people

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